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Incomparable to Jay World Tour 2005 concert

Monday, January 31, 2005

Went to Jay Chou's, 'Incomparable to Jay World Tour 2005' concert on Saturday and it was awesome! hahaha.. the best thing is, I don't even know his songs...! :P Was actually accompanying GF to the concert... nevertheless I was surprised at the energy of the concert and at the same time, how entertaining it was as well.

Anyways, I actually bought the RM312 tix with 20% early bird discount, thus sitting in the VIP area. I was actually quite surprised that most of the ppl seating in that area are young-screaming-teenage girl. Seriously... before the concert, they were screaming at everything Jay Chou.. Panasonic ads, promotional clips... :P crazy.. The concert started at around 8:30pm, and when Jay Chou appeared on stage, everyone stood up on their seats.. some even took the opportunity to go in front to grab some pics.

The concert went for two-and-a-half hours and Jay Chou sang most of his hit songs and I would say he is an excellent entertainer as most of the 20,000 audience sang with him for most part of the concert. I did not count how many songs he sang but according to the Star newspaper, he sang 26 tunes. I was most impress by his talent. He played the flute and did a piano duel (not really a duet, they seem to be challenging each other) with one of his guest artiste (ala Maxim style). Incredible stuff..!

In terms of audience interaction, Jay Chou didn't quite interact much with the audience, besides the usual, How are you Malaysia and Thank You! However, he actually manage to say Terima Kasih (Thank you in Bahasa Melayu) and sang the Malay folk song, Rasa Sayang. Joining Jay on stage were guest performers, Nan Quan Ma Ma and the sultry songstress Landy Wen. They did quite well to keep the concert going non-stop.

The lighting and the sound was excellent. It actually compliment his songs quite well. There were fire works, sparks, flames, smokes coming out from the stage. Cool. Being seated in front, I can actually feel the wind from base and the floor vibrate. :) nice.

Overall, an excellent concert with the right energy and entertainment level. At the end, he actually did 3 encore as the audience keep shouting his name after the lights go out. Never seen 3 encore before in a concert. The only complain I had was that the organizers did not incorporate crowd control in the VIP section. Everyone was just rushing to get in front and pushing each other everywhere... it was chaotic for the first hour. After the RELA officers came in, everything was much more in control.
posted by Ivan Choe, 3:17 pm | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: Rome Part III

Continuing the DIY tour...

Rome: Part III

Secret Meeting at the Vatican

In The Da Vinci Code After learning from the Vatican Council that a secret society, the Priory de Sion (headed by Jacques Saunière), has been making plans to uncover shocking news about Jesus, Opus Dei's Bishop Manuel Aringarosa accepts a mission to quash the revelations. We first meet the bishop on an Alitalia night flight from New York to Rome, where, at a secret meeting of the Vatican Council, he will collect an important package. Although the action of The Da Vinci Code sidesteps the Vatican, the office of the Holy See weighs heavily on every page.

On Tour
Vatican City. The tiny walled city-state and capital of the Catholic Church draws millions of visitors every year to its wealth of treasures and spiritual monuments. You might go to the Vatican for its exceptional art holdings -- Michelangelo's frescoes, rare archaeological marbles, and Bernini's statues -- or to immerse yourself in the unique and grandiose architecture of St. Peter's square. Or you might go in pilgrimage, spiritual or otherwise, to the most overwhelming architectural achievement of the Renaissance and the seat of world Catholicism: St. Peter's Basilica. In between the sacred and the profane lie sights for every taste and inclination: magnificent rooms with elaborate frescoes by Raphael, sculptures such as the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön, frescoes by Fra Angelico, paintings by Giotto and Leonardo, and the celebrated ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The power that emerged as the Rome of the emperors declined -- the Church -- gave impetus to a profusion of artistic expression and shaped the destiny of the city for a thousand years.
The massive walls surrounding Vatican City strongly underscore the fact that this is an independent, sovereign state. Vatican City covers 108 acres on a hill west of the Tiber; within the walls, about 1,000 people live as residents. The Vatican has its own daily newspaper (L'Osservatore Romano), issues its own stamps, mints its own coins, and has its own postal system. Within its territory are administrative and foreign offices, a pharmacy, banks, a print shop, a mosaic school and art restoration institute, a tiny train station, a supermarket, a small department store, and several gas stations.


Castel Gandolfo

In The Da Vinci Code Upon arrival in Rome, Bishop Aringarosa is picked up by a Vatican attaché, who, in keeping with the clandestine nature of the operation, takes him not to the Vatican but to the papal summer retreat in nearby Castel Gandolfo.

On Tour
Castel Gandolfo. A small town in the Alban Hills outside Rome, Castel Gandolfo overlooks pristine Lake Albano. The town is an ideal getaway for Romans seeking escape from their city's hustle and bustle, and indeed popes since the 17th century have been doing just that. From anywhere in town the Pontiff's Palace can be seen rising above the rooftops and trees. Built in 1626 by architect Carlo Maderno, the palace on one side has expansive and lush gardens that frame spectacular views of the lake and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the horizon. A square built in front of the palace in 1929 permits easier viewing of the pope on special occasions and provides better access to the nearby Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova, built in the 17th century by Gianlorenzo Bernini. The Pontiff's Palace is off-limits to the public, but the gardens can be toured.

Cracking the Code

Getting There: Bishop Aringarosa jets into Rome's principal gateway, Leonardo da Vinci Airport (06/65951; www.adr.it), commonly known by the name of its location, Fiumicino (FCO). You should too. The airport lies 30 km (19 mi) southwest of the city. There's a direct train link with downtown Rome.
Where to Stay: There are many hotels near the Vatican and elsewhere in the city.
Getting Around: The Vatican's entrance on Viale Vaticano can be reached by Bus 49, which stops right in front. Or you can take Bus 81 or Tram 19 and walk. Another option is to take a Metro line A train to the Via Cipro-Musei Vaticani stop. Castel Gandolfo is a 30-minute train ride from Rome's Termini Station. By car, the drive is 20 minutes; take the A-1 Highway Roma Nord heading toward the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Great Ring Road); 20 kilometers after the toll booth, enter the Grande Raccordo Anulare heading toward the airport. Get off at Exit 23 (Via Appia) and follow the signs.
Suggested Route: Tour the Vatican, and then head out to Castel Gandolfo.

Tomorrow's desination: London.
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:22 am | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: Paris Part II

Friday, January 28, 2005

Paris: Part II

A Monk Visits Saint-Sulpice

In The Da Vinci Code An albino monk-assassin connected with Opus Dei pays a visit to Saint-Sulpice, where he searches for a keystone believed to unlock the secret of the Grail. The sole occupant of the church, Sister Sandrine, watches the monk from a distance, but her phone call for help is cut short.

On Tour
Saint-Sulpice. Despite the presence of two magnificent Delacroix frescoes, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel and Heliodorus Driven from the Temple, the interior of Saint-Sulpice is oddly impersonal. Dubbed the Cathedral of the Rive Gauche, this enormous 17th-century church has entertained some unlikely christenings -- those of the Marquis de Sade and the poet Charles Baudelaire, for instance -- and the nuptials of the irreverent wordsmith Victor Hugo. The 18th-century facade was never finished, and its unequal towers add a playful touch to an otherwise sober design. Near the middle of the nave on the right side, you can locate one end of the Rose Line near a stone statue with a Latin inscription. The Rose Line, a narrow brass strip, marks the original zero-longitude line, which passed through Paris before being moved to Greenwich, England. The monk uses the line as a reference point in his quest for the Holy Grail. You can retrace his path from the stone statue north across the nave and transept to an obelisk next to the statue of St Peter. (The enormous organ mentioned in the book is in a rear chapel.)
ADDRESS: place Saint-Sulpice.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
MÉTRO: Saint-Sulpice.


Château Villette

In The Da Vinci Code
Unable to break the code that will open the cryptex and reveal the secrets of the Grail, Neveu and Langdon turn to art historian Sir Leigh Teabing for help. Holed up in the splendid 17th-century Château Villette with a ne'er-do-well manservant, Teabing is more than willing to help.

On Tour
Château Villette. A mere 30 minutes from Paris, near the Château de Versailles, sits the regal Château Villette, laid out on a 240-acre spread in 1668 by architect Francois Mansart. Built for the Count of Aufflay, Louis XIV's ambassador to Venice, the château is not open to the public. Plutocrats, Hollywood celebrities, and others plunk down 6,500 euros a day (one-week minimum) to rent the manse, which includes 18 rooms and 17 bathrooms, all decked out in fabulous 17th-century French decor. The famous gardens surrounding the château were designed by André Le Nôtre, mastermind of the gardens at Versailles.


Cracking the Code

Getting There: The Da Vinci Code being fiction, some characters simply find themselves in Paris, and one of them is supposed to land at Charles de Gaulle airport but ends up not doing so. For we mere mortals, commercial aviation must suffice.
Where to Stay: At the Ritz, of course. Pinching euros? Check out these other Louvre/Tuileries hotels.
Getting Around: All the Parisian settings mentioned above, except Château Villette, are accessible via the métro. If you've got the money to book Château Villette, your hosts will arrange transportation as part of the rental.
Suggested Route: Start at the Ritz, pausing first to appreciate the grace and serenity of the octagonal place Vendôme. With its double necklace of ornate 19th-century-style streetlamps, the area surrounding the Ritz is especially striking at night. From here, take the métro (Opéra to Palais-Royal) or walk to the Louvre. In the Epilogue, Dan Brown describes a route to the Louvre that works fine by auto, but for a more scenic stroll make a detour onto rue Saint-Honoré, the sophisticated artery of the rich and class-conscious 1st Arrondissement. To get to rue Saint-Honoré from place Vendôme, head south on rue de Castiglione and make a quick right. Au courant boutiques like Colette line rue Saint-Honoré. At place André Malraux, make a right turn on rue Richelieu as it pours onto the rue de Rivoli; cross this last street and enter the Louvre via the arched access to the Court Napoléon, where I.M. Pei's pyramid is situated.
From the Louvre, head south into the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood to place Saint-Sulpice and its namesake church (Métro: Palais-Royal to Saint-Sulpice). Should you come across an albino monk, keep your distance. It's a walk of more than 3 miles from the church to the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, so you might want to take the métro (Saint-Sulpice to Étoile). The Bois de Bologne is just a bit west of here, and the supposed location of the Depository Bank of Zurich is to the south. If you take the métro from the Porte d'Auteuil subway station to Gare Saint-Lazare, you'll be tracing underground the route Sophie takes to the train station.

The next part of the tour is Rome.
posted by Ivan Choe, 1:15 pm | link | 1 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: Paris Part I

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Paris: Part I

Shocking Night at the Ritz

In The Da Vinci Code
After he gives a talk at the American University of Paris on mysterious runes at Chartres Cathedral, Robert Langdon returns to the famous Ritz hotel for a good night's sleep. A late-night visit from the police inspector Bezu Fache leaves him shocked: the man with whom he was supposed to meet earlier that day, Jacques Saunière, has been murdered.

On Tour
Ritz Paris. Ever since César Ritz opened the doors of his hotel in 1898, the mere name of this venerable institution has become synonymous with luxury. You could easily spend days here without even venturing onto the magnificent place Vendôme. There's the famed Ritz Escoffier cooking school, where you can learn the finer points of gâteaux; the Hemingway Bar, where Colin Field reigns as a world-ranked bartender; and the Greek-temple-ish subterranean swimming pool. Guest rooms match this level of luxe; even in the "humbler" spaces, modern conveniences are cleverly camouflaged among the gleaming mirrors, chandeliers, and antiques. The most palatial suites bear the names of famous Ritz residents: the Coco Chanel, the Prince of Wales, and the Elton John.
ADDRESS: 15 place Vendôme.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Louvre/Tuileries.
MÉTRO: Opéra.


Prime Suspect

In The Da Vinci Code
Jacques Saunière's body is discovered in the Louvre's Denon Wing, not far from two of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest works. Near the body, the police have found an enigmatic message. With the help of Saunière's granddaughter, talented cryptologist. Sophie Neveu, Langdon unravels the message: a series of clues that will lead the two on a quest for the Holy Grail.

On Tour
Denon Wing, the Louvre. The Italian painting collection begins at the western end of the Denon Wing. Some rooms here are slowly being remodeled; the Mona Lisa is usually in Salle 3, but through 2005 she is in Salle 13. Seek out the paintings by the original Renaissance man, painter-engineer-inventor-anatomist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). His enigmatic, androgynous St-John the Baptist hangs in Salle 5, along with more overtly religious works, such as the 1483 Virgin of the Rocks, with the harmonious pyramidal arrangement of its figures. Continue down the corridor, past masterworks by Raphael and Giuseppe Arcimboldo; you'll soon find yourself in the midst of a crowd, approaching the Mona Lisa (properly, La Gioconda, known as La Joconde in French). With all the guards and barriers, it feels as if you're visiting a holy relic, and in some ways you are. This small painting was Leonardo's favorite.
It has belonged to innumerable French rulers since its acquisition by François I, including Napoléon, who kept it on his bedroom wall. The wife of one Francesco del Giocondo, a Florentine millionaire, was 24 when she sat for this painting in 1503. (Some historians believe the portrait was actually painted after her death, and Langdon has an altogether different theory about the origins of the image.) Either way, she has become immortal through Leonardo's ingenious sfumato technique, which combines glowing detail with soft, depth-filled brushwork.
ADDRESS: Palais du Louvre.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Louvre/Tuileries.
MÉTRO: Palais-Royal.


Convenient Decoy

In The Da Vinci Code
Neveu and Langdon flee the Louvre in her SmartCar (!), heading first to the rue de Rivoli and then down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Heading north out of the rotary, the car makes a hard right down boulevard Malesherbes and makes a beeline for Gare Saint-Lazare, where Neveu's purchase of two train tickets to Lille provides a convenient decoy.

On Tour
Champs-Élysées. Marcel Proust lovingly described the elegance of the world's most famous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, during its belle epoque heyday, when its cobblestones resounded to the clatter of horses and carriages. Today, despite the constant surge of cars and the influx of chain shops, there's still a certain je ne sais quoi about strolling up Les Champs, especially at dusk, as the refurbished streetlamps are just coming on. The café tables are always good for people-watching, while the cinemas, nightclubs, and late-hour shoppers ensure the parade continues well into the night. Originally cattle-grazing land, the 2-km (1¼-mile) Champs-Élysées was laid out in the 1660s by the landscape gardener André Le Nôtre as a park sweeping away from the Tuileries. Traces of its green origins remain in the lower section of the avenue, where elegant 19th-century park pavilions house the historic restaurants Ledoyen, Laurent, and Le Pavillon Élysées.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Champs-Élysées.
MÉTRO: Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau, Franklin-D.-Roosevelt, George V, Étoile.

Gare Saint-Lazare. The beaux arts-style Gare Saint-Lazare was built in the late 1880s to accommodate travelers to Paris's Universal Expo of 1889, for which the Eiffel Tower was also erected. Though the station now fulfills 21st-century transportation needs, the grandeur of the architecture (which includes some buildings from the 1840s and 1850s) remains. In the right light you can almost imagine the scene that inspired Monet's 1877 painting Gare Saint-Lazare.
ADDRESS: 108 rue Saint-Lazare.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Montmartre.
MÉTRO: Gare Saint-Lazare.


Help in the Quest

In The Da Vinci Code
Having lost the police, Neveu and Langdon head in a cab to Paris's west side, traveling via the Bois de Boulogne's Allée de Longchamp to the Depository Bank of Zurich, where a deciphered message from Saunière tells them they'll find a "cryptex" (a device whose code must be broken to reveal its contents) that will help in their quest for the Grail. The fictional Depository Bank of Zurich is said to be "adjacent to the Roland Garros tennis stadium," which is in the park's southern section. (The bank is said to be on rue Haxo near the stadium; the real-life rue Haxo is on the eastern edge of Paris near the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.)

On Tour
Bois de Boulogne. Until Napoléon III's time, the 2,200-acre Bois de Boulogne was a wild woods. But the brilliant landscape architect Jean-Charles Alphand, a protégé of Baron Haussman (the prefect who oversaw the reconstruction of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s), created a series of elegant promenades, romantic lakes, and formal playgrounds based on the London-style parks the emperor admired. Le Bois became an immediate hit with Parisians and remains popular today with rowers, joggers, walkers, riders, picnickers, and lovers. Parisian style and elegance are on full display at the French Open tennis tournament, held in late May at the beautiful Roland Garros stadium. The park becomes a distinctly adult playground after dark, especially along sections of Allée de Longchamp, when prostitutes of all genders come prowling for clients.
ADDRESS: Main entrance at bottom of av. Foch.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Bois de Boulogne.
MÉTRO: Porte Maillot, Porte Dauphine, Porte d'Auteuil (also Bus 244).

The second part of the Paris tour will continue tomorrow.
posted by Ivan Choe, 1:09 pm | link | 0 comments |

DIY The Da Vinci Code Tour: Intro

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I've stumbled upon sites which organizes The Da Vinci Code tour, charges ranges from €95 (2.5 hours) to $US55,000 (7 days) per person. I am intrigue with these tours and started searching for DIY tours and walking tours. If you have read Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, this DIY tour would give you a clearer picture as it takes you to places visited by the characters in the novel. SPOILER ahead if you are still reading or planning to read the novel. Here's the plot for the novel from the official site for those who have not read the novel,

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. Solving the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci…clues visible for all to see…and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. The Louvre curator has sacrificed his life to protect the Priory's most sacred trust: the location of a vastly important religious relic, hidden for centuries.

In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who appears to work for Opus Dei—a clandestine, Vatican-sanctioned Catholic sect believed to have long plotted to seize the Priory's secret. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's secret—and a stunning historical truth—will be lost forever.

In an exhilarating blend of relentless adventure, scholarly intrigue, and cutting wit, symbologist Robert Langdon (first introduced in Dan Brown's bestselling Angels & Demons) is the most original character to appear in years. THE DA VINCI CODE heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightening-paced, intelligent thriller…surprising at every twist, absorbing at every turn, and in the end, utterly unpredictable…right up to its astonishing conclusion.


The main action takes place in and around four key locales: Paris, Rome, London, and Scotland. The tours of these destinations, includes corresponding highlights from the book, however, Chris did it in such a way just enough to put the setting into context and not spoiling the plot. He also lists sights to see with some practical information, including suggested routes.

I've decided post this DIY tour for my future reference and this article by Chris Culwell is obtainable from Fodors.com. I'll start posting it tomorrow once I've edited the article to fit this blog.

Meanwhile, my Yahoo! Football Fantasy team has reached an all time high,

Sentinels

Points: 2557.27
Overall Rank: 147
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: 0
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:06 pm | link | 0 comments |

The new Airbus A380 and pics

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

US$16 billion in the making...
as long as a soccer pitch...
a tail seven storeys high...

I was blown away when I first saw the A380 pic in the newspaper. Anyways, here are more information on the flying mammoth. The Airbus A380 was launched last week (18th January) at a lavish media event at the Airbus's headquarters in Toulouse, France. It seems the aircraft will have three floors, connected by stairs in the front and rear. Passengers will be seated on the two top decks, while the bottom deck carries cargo.

Its' flexible design can accommodate a three-class, 500-plus passenger layout with luxury features like gyms, bars and even childcare centres, or stripped to the bare essentials and used by budget carriers to fly up to 840 people.

Here's somethign interesting, the first airline that will fly the plane commercially, in mid-2006, will be... SIA, which has ordered 10, at a total cost of US$8.6 billion, for use on London and Sydney routes.







posted by Ivan Choe, 2:23 am | link | 2 comments |

Movie Review: Elektra

Monday, January 24, 2005

Was over at Singapore on the weekend and managed to catch the anticipated movie, Elektra. Everywhere you go, trailers, photo stills, posters and promotional materials for Elektra show the sleek and sexy Jennifer Garner in a body-revealing red outfit kicking butt. ;) The posters and trailers were the best part of the movie... it goes downhill after that. BTW, the red outfit was only used twice in the movie. :P

The opening sequence gives a promising start to the movie. We see a powerful man literally sitting and waiting for Elektra to come kill him. The opening scene was intriguing and it's Elektra as depicted in the comic book, she's a menacing, a killer, an assassin and... she's in costume. After that, it's on to her next assignment- to take out a man and his teenage daughter, staying at a house on a tranquil lake. Instead of finishing them off immediately, Elektra finds herself drawn in by the warm-hearted Mark Miller and his teenage daughter Abby. She then turn down the job and thus, by turning down the job means others will take her place, so inevitably, she takes the role of a protector.

The story IMHO is the downfall of the movie... heroine plagued by personal doubt, accepts final assignment only to find out she cannot do it and sought to protect the target as an act of redemption. Sounds like one of those Van Damme movie, especially with the corny dialogue and the answered-when-asked Elektra. The villains in the movie comes in the form of The Hand, a group of Asian gangsters with 'mutant' powers that includes members named Typhoid (powers: death kiss), Stone (powers: solid as stone) and Tattoo (powers: able to spawn animals from his tattoos). They follow the orders of Kirigi, whose deadly martial arts skills rival Elektra’s'. These guys are cool but they just get killed by Elektra too easily.

The visual effects in this movie is just mediocre. However, one particular eye-catching visual effect was Tattoo. The way he spawns animals from his body is just... cool. Other than that, nothing worth mentioning. Even the fight scenes tries to be that of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but it was a huge miss off the target and turned out to be more confusing than poetic elegance. One in particular comes in the finale when an array of white sheets float through the air as Elektra and Kirigi fight; the sheets are supposed to add a visual grace, but are filmed so clumsily that they get in the way of seeing and/or appreciating the fight choreography.

I think the writer and director could have done so much more with Elektra. Here, she lacks grace, too much attitude, too little style and no character as compared to her in the comics. Being a big fan of the X-Files, I personally expect more from director Rob Bowman but unfortunately he's turned it into an uninspiring action movie. Oh well, it could be worst. Overall, the show is below average and if you are not expecting much from the movie and want some brainless action movie, go for it. I reckon that a lot of Alias fans will go for the movie regardless of the reviews just to see Garner in a role besides Sydney Bristow. If you're in neither of the two circles mentioned above, don't bother. (Unless the red costume has more screen time.)

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Cast : 2.5
Sound : 2
Picture : 2.5
Storyline: 1

OVERALL : 2

posted by Ivan Choe, 12:52 am | link | 0 comments |

Movie review: Meet the Fockers

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Went for Meet the Fockers yesterday after recommendations by both colleagues and friends. As usual, here's my take on the movie.

Four years after the Meet the Parents, Greg (Stiller) and his fiancé Pam are back on the big screen and this time, they are about to introduce Pam's parents Jack (Deniro) and Dina to Greg's parents in Florida. If you're a fan of Meet the Parents, you'll know that this will be a potentially hilarious outing.

At the start of the movie, everything is going perfectly for Greg and Pam – a man gives them his cab to go to the airport, the traffic lights all turn green, they get free upgrades to first class, and there are no problems with luggage. One is reminded, however, that all good things come to an end, and if your name is 'Gaylord Focker', they do so sooner than later. Shortly after arriving at Byrnes's, Greg and Pam learned that Jack has purchased a suped-up RV to travel in, check this out... complete with Kevlar body, bullet-proof windows, stocked refrigerator, full bathroom, and other surprises. With that, the foursome heads to Florida with Little Jack, Pam’s infant niece, apprentice of Grampa Jack, to meet Greg’s parents. Once they've arrived at their destination, the comedy kicks in to full gear.

Without giving too much away, hilarious moments fly fast and furious as everything from the dog flushing cat to babysitting nightmare, all ganging up to drive Greg up the wall and us audience laughing like mad cows at the edge of our seats. IMHO, what made the movie funny was the contrasting behavior of Jack and Bernard. Jack is a serious, organized, no-nonsense kinda guy while Bernard... is just the opposite. Deniro portrays Jack exactly as how he did in Meet the Parents and with his straight face during comedic moments... hilarious. Hoffman was quite good as well and is rare seeing him acting like an idiot. Other members of the cast were just mediocre, but the one person who stole the show was Little Jack. He's quite adorable and it's hilarious whenever he does his baby sign languages. The best part of the movie was when he utters a certain crude word as his first word. hahaha..

Kudos to writers of the movie as they've managed to incorporate fresh jokes and not resorting to jokes from the previous movie and yet keeping each character nuances intact. The jokes are subtle and not too obvious.. everything has a double meaning. Quite clever. Overall, a very funny comedy and a really satisfying outing. This film doesn't make you leave the cinema feeling empty and cheated. If you're a fan of Meet the Parents, a must watch! If you're not, just go and be entertained... :)

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Cast : 4.8
Sound : 3
Picture : 4.5
Storyline: 4.5

OVERALL : 4.2

posted by Ivan Choe, 1:29 pm | link | 1 comments |

Star Wars: The Line Starts Here...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Anyone waiting for Episode III of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy? Was browsing thru some news sites and there's an article about a dude who claims to be the ultimate Star Wars fan and the best thing is... he's already lining up for the movie. :P

Jeff Tweiten, 24, of Seattle began his vigil outside Seattle's Cinerama Theatre on 1 January and has vowed to keep his place in line until the film opens on 19 May. What's scary is that Jeff performed similar feats of endurance for the last two Star Wars films.

From the looks of it, he'll be waiting in line for the next 139 days and he says he is concerned about the weather. Oh well it isn't so bad as local shops and businesses are allowing him the use of toilet facilities, and friends are bringing him food.

:P
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:27 pm | link | 0 comments |

New Proton SRM Pictures

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Just got this via email. Here are two snapshots of the new Proton SRM (Satria Replacement Model) which is due to launch this year.






Looks promising...

:)

posted by Ivan Choe, 1:42 am | link | 2 comments |

Of Man Utd and throwing mobile on the pitch

Monday, January 17, 2005

Wayne Rooney = hero, after 10-men Manchester United scored following an error of judgement by Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek. With that, Man Utd move one point behind defending champion Arsenal, and eleven points behind current leader Chelsea.

What's interesting during the Man Utd match was that a mobile phone was found on the pitch. According to soccernet.com, police are investigating the mobile phone which was thrown on to the pitch following the goal. The police spokesman said: “We have recovered a mobile phone from the pitch. We are not sure whether it was thrown at anybody. We are making inquiries."

:P hahaha.. must be one hardcore fan.

Anyways, my Yahoo! Fantasy Soccer team has once again reach an all time high this weekend.. :)

Sentinels

Points: 2417.38
Overall Rank: 158
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: +123

The best thing is I can finally see my team name on the top 50 team in the Fan of Manchester United Yahoo! public group.

:)

posted by Ivan Choe, 12:46 pm | link | 0 comments |

Sprained my ankle

Friday, January 14, 2005

Damn.. hahaha was playing badminton last night and my heroics resulted in a sprained ankle. Sigh..

hahaha.. not in a mood to blog today. See you on Monday. :)
posted by Ivan Choe, 4:49 pm | link | 0 comments |

Blackout...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Was having lunch when the lights started to flicker for 2 seconds. Didn't tought much about it. A minute later, there were darkness. Back in the office, coleagues got calls from various parts of Malaysia, namely, Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Shah Alam, Putra Jaya all suffered the similar fate.

There were even sightings of people walking on the LRT tracks to get out of the LRT. Dunno how true is this but rumours has it that there was a switchgear failure in the Kapar power station, Klang. Anyways, looks like the power is back-up in certain parts KL.

posted by Ivan Choe, 1:39 pm | link | 1 comments |

Lesson for the Day: Use your words wisely

Once upon a time there was a Prince who, through no fault of his own was cast under a spell by an evil witch. The curse was that the Prince could speak only one word each year. However, he could save up the words so that if he did not speak for a whole year, then the following year he was allowed to speak two words. (This was before the time of letter writing or sign language.)

One day he met a beautiful princess (ruby lips, golden hair,sapphire eyes) and fell madly in love. With the greatest difficulty he decided to refrain from speaking for two whole years so that he could look at her and say "my darling". But at the end of the two years he wished to tell her that he loved her.

Because of this he waited three more years without speaking (bringing the total number of silent years to 5). But at the end of these five years he realized that he had to ask her to marry him. So he waited ANOTHER four years without speaking.

Finally as the ninth year of silence ended, his joy knew no bounds. Leading the lovely princess to the most secluded and romantic place in that beautiful royal garden the prince heaped a hundred red roses on her lap, knelt before her, and taking her hand in his, said huskily, "My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?"

And the princess tucked a strand of golden hair behind a dainty ear, opened her sapphire eyes in wonder, and parting her ruby lips and said


...


"Pardon?"


:P
posted by Ivan Choe, 1:38 pm | link | 0 comments |

Cool Pic ;)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

haha...

posted by Ivan Choe, 12:08 pm | link | 2 comments |

24 is back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Yay! My fave show 24 is back! For the fourth season, Fox decided to kick off the season with a special two-night 'miniseries' premier consisting of the first four episodes airing on Sunday (9/1) and Monday(10/1) evenings in the US.

The season begins eighteen months after the conclusion of Day 3 (season 3). A commuter train bound for Los Angeles explodes. A man steals a suitcase from a passenger in the wreckage and then kills him. Now, 24's hero Jack Bauer has been dismissed from CTU and now works for Secretary of Defense James Heller. As with all other season, Jack is back in LA, but this time round for a meeting with CTU Director Erin Driscoll, who fired him a year ago. However, Jack finds himself alienated at CTU by Driscoll and the new staff when reports of a possible terrorist strike come in.

24 season 4 opener lived up to its' previous 3 seasons' and if you've been watching, there is always a bigger plot and nothing is what it seems. I find 24 to be one of the most innovative and thrilling series on TV (since X-Files). It is interesting to note that in its first three seasons, the series has won Emmy Awards for writing, editing and casting and has been nominated for 28 total Emmys – highlighted by three each for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Sutherland. 24 also has received seven Golden Globe nominations, including three for Best Television Series – Drama, which it won last season; and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Drama for three years, with Sutherland winning once.

24 season 4 retained its unique format with each episode covering one hour of real time and thus, the season will take place during one day.

I've been told that the 24 season 3 DVD set for Region 1 contains an exclusive six-minute prequel that sets up events for the beginning of the fourth season.

Scene 1
Occurs six months after the conclusion of Day 3 and shows Driscoll firing Jack from CTU because of his drug use.

Scene 2
Takes place three months before the events of Day 4 and shows a terrorist sneaking across the U.S./Mexican border, and then killing his accomplices.

Scene 3
Occurs six hours before Day 4 begins and shows Jack and Audrey in a love scene.

Looks like my Tuesday nights will be occupied now. :)

posted by Ivan Choe, 12:19 pm | link | 2 comments |

Why Jennifer left Brad

Monday, January 10, 2005

After 4½ years, Jennifer Aniston ended her marriage to Brad Pitt during a bitter row in London last month.

The reason? According to The Daily Telegraph, Aniston, 35, told Pitt, 41, that she wanted to put movies ahead of motherhood. The Friends star said she didn't want to be remembered only as airhead Rachel from the sitcom and needed to establish a serious career. And though friends claim Aniston's career was the deciding factor, speculation continues to rage about Pitt's relationship with actor Angelina Jolie - a UK newspaper yesterday reporting the pair shared an intense year-long relationship.

Quote of the Day:

"I don't want to be remembered for playing a fashionable airhead. I want to make serious movies. No one remembers Robin Williams for Mork and Mindy." -Jennifer Aniston on her decision to end her marriage.

Another Hollywood marriage. heh!
posted by Ivan Choe, 12:48 pm | link | 4 comments |

Becks' BMW sold on EBay

Friday, January 07, 2005

Whoaa...! Here's another way to make a quick buck on ebay. According to AFP, a 1997 BMW once owned by England captain David Beckham has sold for more than £90,000 (RM630,000) – to the dismay of the man who sold it two months ago for less than a fifth of that. Businessman John Pearson said overnight that the realisation of how much money he had lost was "like winning a small lottery jackpot and losing the ticket".

The BMW M3 convertible, bought by Beckham for £42,000 (RM294,000) during his first full season at Manchester United in 1997, sparked a bidding war on Internet auction site eBay, receiving 140 bids. It eventually sold to an anonymous buyer for £90,100 (RM630,700), compared to the £16,000 (RM112,000) Mr Pearson received when he sold it privately two months ago.

Mr Pearson said he had spoken to several car car dealers who told him the blue BMW was only worth a little more than £12,000 (RM84,000) despite its illustrious former owner, now with Real Madrid. Despite getting 60 calls as soon as he advertised the car, Mr Pearson said he had opted to sell the vehicle to the first person who came up with the cash. "I'm pretty annoyed. If I'd known I would never have let it go for that price. You just have to learn from these things," he said. "I will follow my own instincts in future and I've written those BMW dealers off my Christmas list, that's for sure."

:P

posted by Ivan Choe, 11:53 am | link | 0 comments |

Lesson for the Day: Saying the right thing

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Here's a good one that I've received via email.. :)

Marty wakes up at home with a huge hangover.

He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple
of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table. He sits down and sees
his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Marty looks around the
room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless, clean. So is the rest
of the house.

He takes the aspirins and notices a note on the table "Honey, breakfast is
on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love you."

So he goes to the kitchen and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the
morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating.

Marty asks, "Son, what happened last night?" His son says, "Well, you came
home after 3 A.M., drunk and delirious. Broke some furniture, puked in the
hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled into the door."

Confused, Marty asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and
breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she
tried to take your pants off, you said, "Lady, leave me alone, I'm
married!"

A self-induced hangover - $100.00
Broken furniture - $200.00
Breakfast - $10.00
Saying the right thing - priceless

...

:)

posted by Ivan Choe, 1:56 pm | link | 0 comments |

Odd story of 2004

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Found this interesting article on AFP. While many serious stories made the news in 2004 there were also some seriously strange ones making the news. Here are some of the oddest events of the year.

ZHENGZHOU, China: A Chinese couple raised their only child for 13 years in the belief it was a girl, until a visit to the local hospital alerted them to the fact that he was really a boy with underdeveloped sexual organs. Doctors concluded he was suffering from a rare disease causing sexual organs to be somewhat hidden from view and performed a successful three-hour operation to correct the problem.

RATCHABURI, Thailand: A group of Thai Buddhist monks were arrested and defrocked after holding a spate of rowdy drug and alcohol parties. Villagers complained about their wild behaviour and drug-taking at the local temple. Five of the saffron-robed monks tested positive for amphetamine pills and a sixth was blind drunk.

SEOUL: Three South Korean dogmeat lovers face a $US70,000 lawsuit after cooking and eating their employer's pedigree dog. The men, employees at a car-hire firm, killed and served up the expensve Jindo dog in the traditional Korean soup dish, Boshintang, while their boss was away.

CLUJ, Romania: A dog owner was forced to leave his apartment after a court ordered his mastiff to be removed from the building because its snoring kept the neighbours awake. Whenever Attila Varga's Neapolitan mastiff Sumo snored, the walls of the neighbouring flats shook and burglar alarms went off. A disappointed Varga said: "We share the same bed and I've got so used to it that I don't even hear it any more."

ALDERSHOT, England: A drunken soldier sparked a major security alert after leaving a regimental party dressed as an Arab suicide bomber. Fifteen police cars, along with dog handlers were called out after a passer-by spotted someone near an army base wearing an Arab-style robe, a turban and false beard, as well as orange paper, wires and candles stuffed into a jacket to make it look like he was carrying explosives. The soldier, who was drunk, was ordered to pay a small on-the-spot fine.

HASTINGS, New Zealand: A mother has been breastfeeding her Staffordshire terrier puppy, saying she did not want to waste the milk after her own daughter switched to being bottle-fed. Kura Tumanako, said she saw nothing wrong with breastfeeding the dog as she wants it to protect her baby girl as the pair grow up. "He drinks more than the baby. It doesn't hurt, but it's a little bit ticklish," she said.

SLUNJ, Croatia: A Roman Catholic priest beat up a member of his parish, threatened others with a rifle and crashed his car in a night of drunken rage after a quarrel in a restaurant. Josip Stefancic punched a guest in the face, took a rifle and waved it other guests before fleeing in his car and crashing into a tree, refusing a breath test when police arrived at the scene. His bishop, Mile Bogovic, was surprisingly understanding. "Stefancic did not act alone. The wine was with him," he said.

LONDON: A number of wealthy clients of the smart London restaurant Zafferano clubbed together to buy one of the most expensive truffles in the world for 40,000 euros ($70,000), but it ended up spoiling in a refrigerator. The 850g delicacy from Tuscany was put on display at the restaurant but then the chef went on holiday after locking the truffle in the fridge and taking the keys with him. When he returned after four days, he found it had rotted, forcing the owner to throw the whole thing out.

SHENYANG, China: A Chinese safari park decided to celebrate the New Year and the start of the Year of the Monkey by dying its primates bright red and yellow. But painting the monkeys was no easy matter job as they refused to cooperate. "We had to anaesthetise them first", a park spokesman said. "They seemed to be surprised at their new strange coats when they woke up. But after a while, they indulged themselves in pleasure."

Muahahaha.. meanwhile, my Yahoo! fantasy football team reached an all time high,

Sentinels

Points: 2193.93
Overall Rank: 276
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: +196


posted by Ivan Choe, 1:26 pm | link | 1 comments |

Movie review: National Treasure

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Managed to catch this movie last weekend in Singapore and it is interesting to note that the movie will only be released in Malaysia on 20th January 2005. The trailer for the movie looks really good, giving you the modern-day Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider feel. Here's my take on the movie.

The movie starts off with a flashback twenty years before. Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) was told a story by his grandfather of ancient treasure which is said to have been hidden from the British by Freemasons during the American Civil War and was handed a cryptic clue by the last surviving signatory of the Declaration of Independence. On to the present, Ben Gates makes a breakthrough! The Founding Fathers inscribed an invisible treasure map on the back of the original Declaration of Independence. With the help of his wise-cracking technical assistant Riley and the archivist Dr Abigail Chase, Ben must steal the heavily guarded document himself to prevent it from falling into the greedy hands of British fortune seeker Ian Howe played by Sean Bean. Thus, begins the adventure through many of America's best-known monuments to find the treasure first. However, Ian's murderous henchmen, and the FBI, in hot pursuit.

The plot sounded really good when I was reading the synopsis but the way the writers expanded the plot during the movie wasn't as good and something seem to be missing from the movie. IMHO, this could be due to several factors. Firstly, this is a Disney movie, thus, violence and foul words are non-existence. The writer tries to portray a ruthless villain but somehow, the henchmen are more comical than threatening. Secondly, as expected from an action/adventure genre, the movie is fast-paced but it lacks style and energy. This toned down the level of excitement and a sense of urgency for the movie. The chemistry of the characters in the movie is not bad. As usual, Cage's plays the cool hero who gets the pretty lady at the end and his sidekick, Riley is the comic relief.

The sound and music used in the movie is just mediocre and it nothing special or memorable compared to other action adventure like Bad Boys II, Indiana Jones or Armageddon. Maybe the director should use a more adventure-sounding-music to make the movie more exciting. Overall, an entertaining movie but a forgettable one compared to other Nicholas Cage movies like Face/Off and The Rock. Regardless, it's good to see Cage on the big screen in the action/adventure genre again after a long absence. Watch it if you're a Cage fan or if you have nothing else better to do.

Ratings (Scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest)

Cast : 3
Sound : 3
Picture : 3
Storyline: 3

OVERALL : 3

posted by Ivan Choe, 11:11 am | link | 0 comments |

Coach to Singapore

Monday, January 03, 2005

Anyone traveling frequently to Singapore? I used to travel with NICE (from KTM station) and as of late, the coach is just plagued with problems, from 1 hour delay to breakdowns to missing baggage to insects crawling around the coach. Anyways, I found this new coach company which operated coaches to Singapore. It's called First Coach and the coach lounge is located near Bangsar LRT station. More precisely, it's located on the ground floor of the Malaysiakini office (behind 7-11).

The cost is RM100 for a return ticket (RM40 to KL-Singapore and RM60 for Singapore-KL) and it stops in Novena Square, Singapore. I would say it's rather convenient if you need to use the MRT in Singapore. The best thing is... the coach is brand new, everything still looks nice and it still has the new bus smell. Thus, no funny insects crawling around. The only difference with NICE is that it doesn't provide you any meals, only light refreshments (i.e. bottled water and biscuits), so if you're taking night busses, buy something before you board the bus. Also, I’ve noticed that the leg space in First Coach is better than that of NICE. Besides that, the route used is the same.

Hahaha.. it's been a while, but my Yahoo! Football Fantasy team is doing quite well.

Sentinels
Points: 2160.65
Overall Rank: 405
Percentile: 99th
Rank Change: +95
posted by Ivan Choe, 11:40 am | link | 1 comments |